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Hurricane Katrina dogs Transported across the country

Pit Bulls making their marks across state lines

Beanie Weeny and CarolynAugust 29, 2005, a community and its animals were irrevocably and tragically altered. One of the deadliest and strongest hurricanes ever recorded, exacted a devastating blow to the Gulf Coast leading to the loss of thousands of lives, both human and animal. Amid the chaos emerged one of the most enduring of bonds, the human-animal bond that was able to reach hearts all over the country. In our relationship with animals, it became painfully clear that we needed them, as much as they needed us. 

While Hurricane Katrina physically changed New Orleans and the Gulf Coast forever, the impact of this vicious storm spread around the country. Volunteers and staff from more than 60 animal welfare agencies came to aid the Louisiana SPCA and helped to save even more lives, like Beanie Weeny. 

Beanie Weeny, a brindle Pit Bull mix, survived on his own for more than two months before he was rescued by the Louisiana SPCA from the flooded Bayou Savage area of New Orleans East. The 2-year-old Pit Bull was severely emaciated, scared of people, heartworm positive and barely able to walk. His emaciation would be easy to reverse compared to the lengthy and exhaustive heartworm treatment he would have to endure. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes which tend to thrive in the warm, humid, climate of the South. This parasitic disease is deadly, if not treated in a timely manner. Despite the physical hardship he was going through, Beanie Weeny eventually came around to trust the staff and volunteers. Overtime his personality shifted form scared and fearful to infectiously upbeat and endearing. Beanie Weeny was so personable that, after he recovered, he was often used in dog-to-dog interactions during behavior testing. It was this unique trait that would eventually win him the hearts of his new family.

After the storm, the Louisiana SPCA’s temporary rescue facility at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center began to quickly fill with thousands of rescued animals. When the City became safe to re-inhabit, the Louisiana SPCA moved to an empty coffee warehouse in Algiers. Approaching capacity, something had to be done to reduce the number of animals in the warehouse by reuniting owners and their animals, while also finding homes for those left unclaimed. That’s when Callie Black, a long-time volunteer of the Louisiana SPCA, came up with a great idea. Black was on vacation in Maine when Katrina hit. She returned to New Orleans only to find her home destroyed. When Black made the decision to move back to Maine she also decided she would save lives in the process. She quickly organized a recurring transport of dogs to the Humane Society of Knox County in Thomaston, Maine, where they would become available for adoption. Many of the dogs transported were Pit Bulls, like Beanie Weeny, and not commonly found in the northern state.


Beanie Weeny in Maine

Beanie Weeny, along with a few other dogs, boarded the specially designed transport trailer at Lamar-Dixon and began the nearly 2,000 mile journey to Maine. Once there, Beanie Weeny did not even get a chance to unpack his bags before someone fell in love with him and decided to give him a forever home! Meg Barclay and her husband John Scholz had two dogs before they found Beanie Weeny, but one had recently passed and left the remaining dog lonely and in need of a companion. However, Meg and John's dog, Yassou, would not settle for just any dog. After numerous failed meet and greets, Yassou finally met the perfect companion, Beanie Weeny. 

Beanie Weeny, renamed Ripple, has adjusted to life up North very well and loves his new family. A few year’s after Ripple’s adoption, Yassou died. Since then, Meg and John adopted another Pit Bull mix named Karma. They thank Ripple for opening their eyes to how wonderful the Pit Bull breed truly is. 

Ripple is a Southern Maine Pit Bulls breed ambassador and received a Canine Good Citizen certificate from the American Kennel Club. Ripple even overcame his fear of water, likely developed from the trauma he endured during Katrina. Meg, John and Ripple are thankful for the transport program that united them and so many others. In addition to Maine, transport trucks also brought rescue dogs from Katrina to rescue agencies across the country. Many of the dogs transported were Pit Bull mixes, like Ripple, and went to states where Pit Bulls were rarely seen. Due to the transports and other rescue efforts, approximately 15,500 animals were ultimately saved.

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